Stocks climb on recovery, stimulus hopes; dollar climbs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global stocks gained to hit an intraday record on Wednesday as investors looked to improving economic data and anticipation that Washington would be able to provide more stimulus to support the recovery from coronavirus lockdowns.

On Wall Street, each of the three major equity indexes moved higher, but gains were led by defensive sectors such as utilities as the high-flying tech sector paused.

Earlier data from the ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls rose by 428,000 jobs in August, well short of expectations as the government’s aid to support workers and employers runs out. While July’s data was revised higher, the report indicated a slowing in the labor market recovery.

A separate report showed factory orders rose more than expected in July, pointing to continued improvement in the manufacturing sector.

The mixed data may have fueled expectations Washington may feel pressure to reach a deal on a new stimulus act, although on Tuesday U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “serious differences” remain between Democrats and the White House after a phone call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, adding to the defensive tilt on Wall Street.

“If we think about typical headwinds we might be concerned about in the ongoing market saga, it is not getting fiscal policy out of gridlock, that might be part of it,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

“Nobody is going to argue technology hasn’t had a massive run here, so to take a breather for a day or two is likely very healthy,” Hogan said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 237.91 points, or 0.83%, to 28,883.57, the S&P 500 gained 24.2 points, or 0.69%, to 3,550.85 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.57 points, or 0.08%, to 11,949.24.

While tech stocks paused in the United States, they helped put European stocks on track to snap four straight days of losses. Tech shares jumped 2.06% after rising as much as 2.8% to their highest in more than 19 years.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.65% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.42%. MSCI’s index reached an intraday record for a sixth straight day.

The dollar strengthened against a basket of major currencies for a second straight day from lows of more than two years, while the euro pulled back from the key $1.20 level reached in the prior session.

The dollar index rose 0.554%, with the euro down 0.6% at $1.1839.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 0.6559%, down from 0.671% late on Tuesday.

In commodities, oil gave back gains following a brief move higher on data showing U.S. crude and fuel stocks fell sharply in the most recent week as Hurricane Laura shut output and refining facilities.

U.S. crude recently fell 1.75% to $42.01 per barrel and Brent was at $44.94, down 1.4% on the day.

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